Window Cleaning accident in Auckland, New Zealand

Feb 2012

The father of a teenage window cleaner who survived a four-storey fall wants answers on how the accident happened.

Louisa Kuypers plunged 30 metres while scaling an office building in the Auckland suburb of Newmarket.

For the thrill-seeking 18-year-old abseil window-washing was a natural career choice. Her father, Gilbert Kuypers, ┬ásaid she was so happy in the job she “would have done it almost for nothing”.

But Gilbert worried about his daughter’s safety.

“I just dropped her off before the accident and I said, you know, be careful. And she’s ‘oh yeah, always do that’. And all of a sudden, bang, you know, she’s in hospital, and all we’re looking at is just a nose and a pair of eyes sticking out of bandages.”

After falling from the top of the Lion Breweries building on Friday, the teen is making a remarkable recovery. She is in a stable condition, and talking.

But her dad still wants answers about how the accident happened. He says Louisa was working with another window washer at the time of the accident – a more experienced man.

“If the person is senior he should know stuff and if he isn’t then he should have been trained. Somewhere, something isn’t quite right,” Gilbert said.

Louisa’s employer, a company called At Height, has not responded to calls from the media.

The Labour Department is investigating the accident – the third industrial rope fall in just eight months, although none were fatal.

An emergency department clinician who helped save Louisa says hers is a remarkable case and he believes wearing a helmet “helped immensely”.

“I don’t recall seeing anyone who’s fallen quite so far and who has come out so relatively unscathed,” Dr Mike Nichols said.

It may be another six months before the cause of the accident is fully known.